tv Democracy Now Special LINKTV November 9, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
annenberg media ♪ provided by: ¿qué le estará pasando a fernando? nunca lo había visto tan desconfiado. es natural, pedro. quiere estar seguro y necesita pensarlo un poco más. claro. yo recuerdo muy bien mi reacción cuando vi por primera vez a raquel en mi casa en buenos aires. tal vez tengan uds. razón pero yo conozco muy bien a mi hermano. algo le está pasando. bienvenidos al episodio final de destinos.
en este episodio concluimos la historia de raquel, don fernando y los otros miembros de la familia castillo. mercedes... diles a angela, roberto, raquel y arturo que los espero en mi habitación. por supuesto, papá. raquel: don fernando... la señora suárez me dijo que rosario nunca dejó de pensar en ud.... que siempre lo amó. captioning of this program is made possible by the annenberg/cpb project and the geraldine r. dodge foundation.
y de la excavación, fuimos al hospital y de ahí, vinimos para acá y fue así, don fernando, como sucedió todo. muy interesante, raquel. te agradezco la paciencia y el interés que pusiste en este caso. pero, ya es tarde. se hice de noche y tengo sueño. mañana quisiera hablar con angela y roberto para estar seguro de que son mis nietos. mercedes, ayúdame.
con permiso. que sigan gozando del resto de la noche. ¿qué le estará pasando a fernando? nunca lo había visto tan desconfiado. es natural, pedro. quiere estar seguro y necesita pensarlo un poco más. claro. yo recuerdo muy bien mi reacción cuando vi por primera vez a raquel en mi casa en buenos aires. tal vez tengan uds. razón pero yo conozco muy bien a mi hermano. algo le está pasando. raquel: angela
trajiste la copa de puerto rico, ¿no? esa es la prueba que don fernando quiere. ay, claro. ila copa! está en mi carro. vamos a buscarla. es importante mostrársela al abuelo. sí. es que con la emoción de estar aquí la dejé en el carro. vamos. ¿necesitas algo más, papá? no, gracias, hija. papá, angela y roberto son tus nietos. estoy segura. me gustaría que así fuera. pero necesito más pruebas. he esperado tanto tiempo para conocerlos que puedo esperar hasta mañana
para estar seguro de su identidad. sí, papá. llega la noche y como todas las noches en la gavia reina una gran tranquilidad. al día siguiente, el futuro de la gavia srevela cuando llega una visita inesperada. disculpen que haya venido s avisarles. está bien, señora lópez. le presento a mi hermana mercedes. ya conoce a mi tío pedro. ¿cómo le va? bien. pase por aquí, por favor. ud. dirá.
mi cliente ha insistido en que venga a verlos para decirles que tiene mucho interés en la propiedad. juan: ¿podemos pasar? mis hermanos, carlos y juan. la señora lópez estrada. mucho gusto. está ud. en su casa. bienvenida a la gavia. como decía mi cliente quiere comprar la propiedad. quiere que uds. pongan el precio. yo se lo transmitiré inmediatamente. señora lópez estrada, todavía no hemos decidido si vamos a venderla o no. yo le dije que la llamaría. comprendo, y me disculpo por venir así. lo que ocurre es que mi cliente ha visto otra propiedad y aunque prefiere la gavia, debe decidirse cuanto antes o puede perder las dos. pedro: ipor amor de dios, fernando! entonces, dígale que compre la otra. la gavia no está ni estará nunca en venta.
buenos días, lupe. buenos días, licenciada. buenos días, doctor. buenos días. ¿y los demás? están reunidos en el despacho. ¿gustan desayunar? sí, gracias. ibuenos días! hola, buenos días. ¿qué tal? ¿durmieron bien? muy bien. ¿y uds.? yo muy bien. ¿quién no? en este lugar hay tanta paz. sí, es verdad. nos vamos a quedar unos días con el abuelo, ¿verdad? yo debo regresar a méxico, por mis padres. yo también vuelvo. pero uds. pueden quedarse. necesitan estar con su abuelo. además hay la cuestión de la copa. sí, es verdad. aquí la tengo. no sé cuando será el momento oportuno.
mientras roberto y los demás desayunan mercedes revela su plan para la gavia. mercedes: entonces se me ocurrió que tal vez si pudiéramos conseguir el dinero podríamos fundar un orfanato aquí en la gavia o una escuela, o ambos. así alojaríamos a niños huérfanos no sólo mexicanos sino también de centroamérica. ¿y uds. qué piensan? creo expresar la opinión de todos si digo que nos parece una idea maravillosa. pero, no sabemos ni de dónde ni cómo conseguir los fondos. es una gran responsabilidad, ¿no es verdad? sí. tú, papá, ¿qué dices? hija, siempre creí que podía leer tu mente
saber lo que pensabas pero no sabía que tú también pudieras leer la mía. ¿cómo dices? les voy a decir un secreto. hace ya muchos años tuve esta misma idea. fue entonces cuando decidí reconstruir la gavia. pero un orfanato cuesta mucho dinero. y como uds. dicen muy bien, es una gran responsabilidad. así que quise hacer bien las cosas, y abrí una cuenta. ¿una cuenta? sí. he ido depositando, poco a poco, los fondos necesarios. y hoy día creo que con las ganancias y los intereses acumulados debe haber lo suficiente para iniciar una fundación. entonces, iya lo tenías decidido! ¿eh? está en mi testamento.
¿hablas de una fundación privada? sí. pero he hablado también con políticos y empresarios. y cuando la fundación exista, tendrán ayuda oficial y también del extranjero. ipapá! ieso es fantástico! mercedes y carlos son los más indicados para organizar y administrar el orfanato. ¿yo? fernando: sí, tú, hijo. hacía bastante tiempo que tenía pensado cerrar la oficina de miami. y como tú tienes esa facilidad para tratar con los niños. bueno, pues, sía mí me gustan mucho loniños. pues, por eso mismo, eres indispensable. tú, ramón puedes continuar ocupándote de los negocios. papá, tú sabes que siempre podrás contar conmigo. juan...
tú y pati tienen sus carreras en nueva york. allí tienen su vida. no veo por qué tienen que regresar a méxico a menos que lo quieran. naturalmente, también todos cuentan con el mejor abogado mi hermano pedro. ¿y tú, papá? yo ya estoy muy viejo. pronto descansaré en paz. papá, por favor. por favor, papá. hablando de descansar, me voy a mi habitación. mercedes... diles a angela, roberto, raquel y arturo que los espero en mi habitación. por supuesto, papá. raquel, cuando quieras, nos vamos. tus padres te estarán esperando. sí, voy a buscar mis cosas
y a ver si don fernando está despierto para despedirme de él. muy buenos días. buenos días. ¿durmieron bien? yo sí. me encuentro muy bien en este lugar. yo también. me alegro. miren, papá dice que quiere verlos ahora. está en su cuarto. parece que el momento oportuno ha llegado, hermana. parece que sí. vamos. adiós, lupe. adiós, señor.
¿prefieres que te dejemos a solas con tus nietos? sí, papá. creo que es mejor. no, esperen. luego podrán irse. ¿por qué no van a buscar a consuelo y a gloria? me gustaría que estuvieran aquí también. voy a buscarlas. juan. sí, papá. ¿cómo estás, hijo? ¿yo? bien, bien. extrañarás a pati. sí, claro. no hay nada más importante que la familia. es verdad. creo que deberías irte a nueva york. pero, ¿qué dices? te agradezco lo que has hecho
que quieres estar aquí conmigo. pero yo soy un viejo. he vivido una larga vida. tú eres joven. debes vivir tu propia vida con tu familia, con tu mujer. ser feliz. eso es el mejor regalo que un hijo le puede hacer a un padre. gracias, papá. gracias. don fernando arturo y yo venimos a despedirnos. ¿cómo? ¿tan pronto ya? sí, mis padres me esperan en méxico. entonces ve.
pero regresa cuando quieras. esta es tu casa. gracias, don fernando. y tú, arturo... eres hijo de rosario. eres como un hijo verdadero para mí. recuerda, ésta es también tu casa. nosotros somos tu familia. gracias, don fernando. me alegro. todos están aquí. me gusta ver a toda la familia junta. abuelo... anoche decías que querías estar seguro
gracias, gracias a los dos. y no se olviden, vuelvan siempre que puedan. esta es su casa. gracias, don fernando. gracias a uds. arturo: gracias, don fernando. ¿vamos, raquel? sí. angela, vamos a acompañarlos al carro. luego podemos estar con el abuelo. sí. vamos a acompañarlos al carro para despedirnos de uds. todos, todos estamos muy agradecidos.
raquel. mande. acércate. quiero darte las gracias una vez más. hiciste muy bien. estoy muy contento. yo también, don fernando, por ud. y su familia. me permites la confianza, raquel, te quiero decir algo. no se me ha escapado la forma en que arturo y tú se miran. parece que todo el mundo se ha dado cuenta. lo que sientes por él, es serio, ¿verdad? creo que sí. aunque sé que hace poco que lo conozco la investigación nos ha unido. no tienes que explicarme nada. sigue los consejos de un viejo.
ay, raquel, te voy a extrañar mucho. ya eres como una hermana para mí. y para mí también, angela. roberto: raquel... raquel, déjame darte un abrazo también. apenas nos conocemos pero ya eres como una hermana para mí también. cuídala a tu hermana, roberto. y tú angela, cuídalo a él también. tío, te veremos en un par de días, ¿no? sí, regresaré a la gavia antes de volver a la argentina. entonces no será un adiós sino un hasta luego. así es.
raquel, he estado pensando. ¿en qué? mi vida ha cambiado tanto desde que te conocí. creo que los angeles me gusría mucho. descríbeme un poco cómo es. pues, los angeles es una ciudad única. no hay otra ciudad igual en los estados unidos. primero, están as famosas carreteras. ah, y las fiestas de cinco de mayo.
c-i- lo siento, roberto. eso es incorrecto. lisa flores. lisa, tu palabra también es 'sipc'. ¿podría tenerla en otra oración, por favor? los fondos de sipc están disponibles para satisfacer las reclamaciones de los clientes de firmas de corretaje hasta un máximo de $500,000, incluyendo hasta $100,000 por rec 'sipc', eftivo s-i-p-k. ¿no conoce a sipc - securities investor protection corporation? no importa. se lo deletrearemos. visite nos www.sipc.org.
funding for this program is provided by annenberg/cpb, to advance excellent teaching. now, you cannot tell me that the day i was born, it was said i could never run for president because i wouldn't meet my oath of office! woman: vote for our neighbor, cynthia rubenstein, for county council. can you see the red against red? it's time to vote. you have the right to vote. if you're 18 or older and an american citizen, register to vote. you tell them what to do. vote! elections, from city council to president of the united states, we elect men and women to represent us at every level and in every branch of government. the people we choose make critical policy decisions, craft our laws, and judge us in many of our courts. considering that elected officials determine so much
about the lives we lead, on what basis do we -- or should we -- choose and support a candidate? i'm renee poussaint. our elected representatives are just that, elected. in order to win, a candidate must campaign to convince the voters that he or she is the best choice for the job. and campaigning requires many critical decisions.
should limited resources go to court this group or that? should candidates just focus on their own political ideas or mount a negative attack on the opponent? and how should thorny issues be handled? one thing is certain -- key to winning at every level is the crucial word "strategy." one issue nearly derailed the campaign of john f. kennedy, the 35th president of the united states -- he was a catholic. in 1960, there was a certain amount of anti-catholic sentiment in the country, so a catholic running for president was a big deal. so much so that a usually insignificant democratic primary in the rural state of west virginia became a do-or-die election for the young politician. some hoped he would fail and clear the way for other candidates, but when kennedy arrived in west virginia in late april 1960,
he was riding high. he had just defeated one opponent, hubert humphrey, in the wisconsin primary, and he felt his campaign was picking up speed. but he was about to confront a voting population that was 98% protestant. jack kennedy's role as the underdog in west virginia is a new one for the frontrunner for the democratic nomination. his strength may hinge on a much-publicized if little understood factor -- how his roman catholic religion will sit at the polls with west virginia's heavily protestant voters. man: he won wisconsin but barely, which meant humphrey would continue to west virginia. but the most important thing is what the press did with his win. they credited his win to the catholic vote, particularly republican catholics who became democrats one day and voted the primary. every major press report said that without the catholic support in wisconsin, kennedy would have lost.
now, suddenly kennedy isn't the candidate, kennedy is the catholic candidate. and that, in people of west virginia, who just thought of kennedy as senator were now bombarded with this new information, catholic kennedy is coming to your state. and suddenly, that put the whole campaign in basically a siege mentality. you would be divided between two loyalties, to your church and to your state, if you were to be elected president. the question is whether i think that if i were elected president i would be divided between two loyalties, my church and my state. let me just say that i would not. i have sworn to uphold the constitution in the 14 years i've been in congress. man: i think that john f. kennedy did precisely the right thing in order to meet the catholic issue, which was to make west virginians feel that if they did not vote for him,
why, then, they were prejudiced. and this was a very clever way in which he was able to play on the fairness and sense of justice of most west virginians. now, you cannot tell me that the day i was born, it was said i could never run for president because i wouldn't meet my oath of office! i came to the state of west virginia, which has fewer numbers of my co-religionists than any state in the union. i would not have come here if i didn't feel that i was going to get complete opportunity to run for office as a fellow american in this state. i would not run for it if in any way i didn't feel that i could do the job. so i come here today saying that i think that this is an issue that drops itself. when he tells that in morgantown, it's a turning point, not only in his campaign but you could argue in american politics. you have a hard issue, what do you do? you, as a candidate, raise it and then you frame it in the issue of fairness, you frame it in the issue of what is the american dream,
what is american responsibility. and that took great creativity, i think, on his part. that was a very effective political strategy. now, there is nothing in my religious faith which prevents me from executing my oath of office. if i thought that there was, i wouldn't take it. if i thought there was, i shouldn't be not a president, i shouldn't be senator, i shouldn't have been congressman. to be frank with you, i shouldn't have been taken into the service of the united states, because on that occasion, in 1941, i also swore to uphold and defend the constitution. poussaint: this direct approach seemed to put the catholic issue to rest, but winning the primary would take every resource available. kennedy made the most of his family's deep pockets -- he engineered a television campaign enviable even by today's standards. and he enlisted the help of thousands of volunteers. heckler: kennedy's strategy was overwhelming and well thought out. he used to have one or two stenographers along with him
when he would shake hands with people. these stenographers, after kennedy had shaken hands with a man or woman, would go up and take down personal information about that individual, and then within 24 hours that person would get a handwritten thank you note, and this had a tremendous personal impact. reporter: as of today, the vote appears to be going this way in these key cities. the bulk of the voters are not in the cities, however, but in the rural areas, so the statewide consensus, a close one. humphrey slightly ahead, but the unpredictable factors of religion and a long tradition of highly independent voting by west virginians could throw this election either way. poussaint: the kennedy strategy worked. and even though the press consistently predicted his defeat, he won the primary by a large margin. he continued on to win his party's nomination,
and in the fall, he became the 35th president of the united states. as citizens, we have a golden opportunity to participate in electoral politics, by organizing groups to work for candidates who will pursue the policies we favor. it is one of the most successful and often most enjoyable ways we have to exercise our rights and responsibilities as citizens. hello! learn about the neighbors pact. help take back montgomery county. poussaint: neighbors for a better montgomery, a grassroots organization formed in january of 2002, is playing catch-up, but it may be too late. they need to select county and statewide candidates that mesh with their agenda,
endorse them, and then do everything in their power to get them past the primary elections in september. and they've only got three months to get all of this done. woman: special interests like businesses and developers are really driving the policies in many of the local governments and driving land use decisions, and we got tired of it. we want to elect candidates who listen to citizens and not developers. no more bullno more pork -- it's "baaad" out there. woman: neighbors for a better montgomery is a non-partisan grassroots group of regular ordinary citizens and community activists concerned about the rate of growth in montgomery county and its negative impact on the quality of life. woman: ieso! ieso! the one issue we had in common was we saw that the growth was causing the deterioration of our quality of life. and so what we wanted to do was to come together and look for candidates that in fact recognized the same issues.
poussaint: montgomery county, maryland, which borders washington, d.c., on its northwest corner, consists of bedroom communities and light industry near that border and of mandated open space up-county. today, the housing industry is booming. traffic clogs the roads. schools are overcrowded. the quality of life is suffering. county executive doug duncan has put together a team of like-minded county council candidates who want to "end gridlock" by encouraging growth and relieving congestion with more roads and additional transit initiatives. the plan of this well-funded "go montgomery" team runs counter to the plan of the modestly funded neighbors group. i am dolores milmoe and i am the maryland advocate for conservation with the audubon naturalist society.
poussaint: the neighbors group hits the ground running, holding issues briefings for candidates and their staffs to get out their message. they hope to redirect the election debate away from the "go montgomery" team plan. debraga: do you think that the current rate of growth in this county and the projected rate of growth in this county is sustainable? rubenstein: i think that the rate of growth is clearly not sustainable, looking at the cost of the infrastructure that we are going to have to provide. poussaint: they invite candidates to join them for back-to-back, one-on-one, half-hour interviews. how you doing? man: hi, marc. poussaint: then all 22 regional chairs of the neighbors group show up for an endorsement congress, during which county council and at-large candidates will be chosen for backing. man: all those in favor of voting marc elrich.
poussaint: the neighbors group endorses five at-large candidates and candidates from each district for county council seats. candidates, can you all come up to the front here? poussaint: they then announce their selections at a rally on the steps of the county council building. [ cheering ] poussaint: but there is very little media coverage of the event. rubenstein: hey, maureen. hi, how are you? poussaint: in district 5, an older community that borders the district of columbia and has serious urban problems, the neighbors group endorses cynthia rubenstein, a longtime community activist but a first-time runner for county council. cynthia has a proven track record of civic involvement and she's really gone to bat for a lot of different gros with issues. it's going to be an uphill battle for some of these candidates, and the reason is that the board of trade and the developer money
is backing a whole slate of candidates that want the bigger roads and that want more development. i assume you are a democratic voter? poussaint: since montgomery county is by and large controlled by democrats, the selection of candidates in the primary to run for county council on the democratic ticket is crucial. rubenstein: i appreciate your good consideration. on september 10 don't forget to vote. poussaint: going door to door to gain support for neighbors group candidates is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and low-percentage, even if each contact is a quality one. milmoe: here is the other one. poussaint: putting up a web site, making phone calls, and stuffing envelopes with targeted messages are more effective. but to really reach democratic voters takes money, lots of money. the cash-heavy "go montgomery" team begins its push with a massive mailing,
and follows up with slick pre-recorded targeted phone messages. they dominate the news, allowing them toosition their "go montgomery" spin front and center. primary day arrives. neighbors group candidates have put out noticeably fewer signs an the "go montgomery" team. "go montgomery" boosters stand outside of all 227 polling places. vote for cynthia, district 5 council. poussaint: the neighbors group covers 75. the neighbors group is unable to spare a volunteer to move with cynthia rubenstein from one polling precinct to another throughout the day, as she begins her final push. vote for our neighbor, cynthia rubenstein, for county council. i'm cynthia rubenstein. i'm a democrat running for county council for district 5. and i can't go beyond this line, so you have to come to me.
okay! how are you? i would appreciate your consideration in the booth. that's my daughter, frances. hi. glad to see you today. i think that local elections, especially for folks who are running for the first time, are all about retail politics. and that means that you can't take for granted that a last handshake or a last good positive word with someone won't make an impact. and in a race, in a three-way race, which this essentially is in the primary, every single vote counts because historically maybe 20% of registered voters show up on primary day. poussaint: at liz brennan's local polling precinct in district 5, voter turnout is light. brennan: the other group spent so much money, we thought that the people who were like-minded, our like-minded folks, would feel compelled to go out
and vote against them. poussaint: tom debraga is the lone neighbors group representative at his polling precinct for the entire day. debraga: by quarter to 7:00 in the morning, we were there, ready to go with our literature on tables, banners out, t-shirts on to tell people who we were. and then, 13 hours of standing, waiting for people to come by, to get two seconds to hand them their literature, to get our message out. and we want people in there who have the idea that we need to decrease growth first and foremost. poussaint: despite all their hard work, none of the neighbors group candidates for at-large seats on the county council survives the primary election. four endorsed district candidates do win. cynthia rubenstein does not. i'm devastated. i really am. i didn't think we would do as badly as we did. we didn't get all our candidates in,
but by god, we participated. and that's what we as americans have the right to do, and we celebrate that opportunity. one of the core ideals of our democracy is the notion that we should have a say in how our country is governed. but ironically, while many groups have fought long and hard for the right to vote, getting people to exercise that right has not been easy. one group in particular, a group which in some ways has the most to gain or lose from the outcome of elections, needs a boost to find its way to the voting booth. in 1972, at the height of the vietnam war, when young men over the age of 18 were being drafted and sent overseas, congress passed a constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age to 18.
the idea was that if you were old enough to fight, you were old enough to vote. since then, however, more often than not, young people have not exercised that right. woman: we are in a crisis situation. young people are opting out of participating in politics. they are not voting. it's time to vote. you have the right to vote. if you're 18 or older and an american citizen, register to vote. you tell them what to do. your vote is your voice. poussaint: in 1990, members of the recording industry began a campaign to empower young people politically and encourage them to exercise their right to vote. their organization and rallying cry soon became a familiar catchphrase among the mtv generation. rock the vote. vote! man: around that time, there was a lot of attacks on musicians and freedom of expression. one example i like to use or that is referenced a lot is the record store owner in florida who got arrested
for selling 2 live crew albums. in america today, the flame of censorship is once again burning brightly. it was important to founders of rock the vote for young people to have a voice in this debate that was going on. it became immediately clear that voting had to be a part of how you could use your voice. and so rock the vote immediately began registering young people to vote because to even be able to participate in the process, you first have to register. ♪ hey [ scat singing ] poussaint: from the start, rock the vote was able to build momentum by enlisting celebrities and partnering with youth-oriented media such as mtv. ♪ truth is where you find it ♪ get up and vote celebrities are basically a tool to educate young people about rock the vote. you got the right to vote. speak your mind and vote. so that young people listen. poussaint: and it appears that in 1992,
young people did listen. it was a presidential election year -- republican george bush sr. versus democrat bill clinton. after the ballots were counted, rock the vote claimed a victory of its own. we had registered hundreds of thousands of young people. we had made it seem like it was a cool thing. there was a candidate that cared about reaching out to this audience and going onto mtv. mtv was pushing out this message as much as possible. it was great partnership. and we saw for the first time a 7% increase in youth voter turnout. that was an amazing feat. and then, after president clinton went into office, he signed the motor voter law and thanked rock the vote for helping push that legislation through. i'm pleased to be able to keep the promise today that i made on this rock the vote card, which still has my signature, back in new hampshire.
[ rock music plays ] green: the motor voter law is actually the national voter registration act. it does a number of different things. with the motor voter law, you can register to vote when you're getting your driver's license, when you're performing any type of basic government function. that opens up the process to millions of people who never had that immediate opportunity to register. it also created a way for organizations like rock the vote to do voter registration across the country with one simple form. man: excuse me, are you registered to vote? man: oh, no, i'm not. kreidich: would you like to? man: sure. gabor: a rock the vote community street team is the grassroots effort by rock the vote. your signature, your date of birth, and the political party of your choice, if you're interested. there are community street teams in about 40 cities now,
and they're made up of volunteers from those respective cities. kreidich: rock the vote basically sets up at band shows, at concerts, at rallies. sometimes we even go out into the park, like you see today. they are our ground troops. we cannot be successful with any of our campaigns without our street teams pushing those messages. the decisions politicians make affect you -- like your taxes, your social security, how much money they take. so if you go out and vote, it will help make a difference in your community. kreidich: how can you fight that? nah, i don't want to vote. just take this information. a lot of people don't see the connection between government policy and their lives. they have a short attention span when it comes to history. i mean, when you look at the things that black people and women had to go through just to gain the right and vote for this country, the generations today, they don't realize that their ancestors had to go through that, so i think people take it for granted. you know, they just work, pay their taxes, and live their life, come to the park to have fun
and so on and so forth. but for each person that doesn't accept it, another person will. you just fill that out right there. green: over the past 12 years, rock the vote has been really lucky in registering three million new voters. poussaint: however, higher registration rates don't necessarily correlate with higher turnout. in fact, in the 1996 presidential election, three years after the motor voter bill passed, registration was up but youth voter turnout dropped. registration is not enough. and that's why, when i ask people to register to vote, i also ask them to sign our listserv document, which gives me their e-mail, so i can let them know when the elections are coming up. when it comes to actually going to the polls, they need the reasons, they need the issues. for example, today, we are going around registering people to vote, but we are also asking them to sign a petition about sexual education in schools, in public schools. basically, right now, they're only teaching about abstinence. the teachers aren't allowed to answer questions
about contraceptives. i mean, it's a perfect example of something that young people should be concerned about. [ "america the beautiful" ] ♪ how beautiful to never speak ♪ or have an opinion green: we are in a moment right now where a lot of decisions are going to be made on issues following september 11. so we have a new campaign called wake up and rock the vote that really talks to young people about the freedoms this country was built on and the need for young people to protect those freedoms. i s registered by rock the vote. i then volunteered for rock the vote. the numbers of people that i meet around this country who come up to me and say, "i would never have been interested in politics if it wasn't for rock the vote." napier: for a person who wants to go into politics myself, i think this is like giving me experience about how people, you knowview the government, which is not very positively,
and how, you know, a lot of government policies impact people in different ways. green: we've been lucky. we've been very fortunate to be able to do this work and touch so many people around the country. what if we held an election and nobody voted? this is overly dramatic, but considering such a possibility points out one of the great paradoxes of american politics. we are uniformly proud of our electoral system, we consider the freedom to select political leaders a hallmark of representative democracy, and yet, large numbers of americans do not vote. indeed, voter turnout here falls well below that of other western democracies and the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot is shrinking. why? some americans fail to vote because of legal restrictions. voting in this country is a two-step process,
and step one, in all but four states, is to register. in the past, registration procedures were often inconvenient and burdensome, but in the last several decades, the process has been made far easier. opinion surveys suggest that many americans do not go to the polls because they think their one vote will not make a difference. other non-voters say they do not believe that elected officials can solve the country's problems, so why bother. is this low turnout a problem for our democracy? many observers believe that low voter turnout undermines democracy, which depends on full electoral participation. others see it as a sign of an electorate too satisfied to bother voting. whatever the cause of our low voter turnout, the result is that too few american citizens are exercising their right to claim a stake in the nation's future. it's something for us to think about. for "democracy in america," i'm renee poussaint.